Catherine Hardwicke is widely considered one of the most successful female directors in Hollywood, but she’s still painfully aware of the industry’s “woman problem,” having been denied the kinds of opportunities and paychecks her male counterparts receive on the regular.
Hardwicke is behind the biggest opening-weekend box office by a woman director: “Twilight” grossed nearly $70 million its debut weekend in 2008. Helming the box-office smash didn’t lead to being inundated with further offers, though. In a new interview with The Guardian, the “Miss You Already” director discloses that it took her a year and a half to book her next gig, “Red Riding Hood.” The 2011 take on the classic fairy tale, which starred Amanda Seyfried in the eponymous role, was a critical and commercial dud. “I didn’t even want to do that movie. It’s one the studio brought to me, and I got paid less than I got paid on ‘Twilight,’” she revealed. Let that sink in for a moment: Despite breaking records with “Twilight,” Hardwicke earned a smaller paycheck for her next project, which in fact had a bigger budget.
“Myself and other [female] directors used to think we didn’t have to talk about women’s issues: that it would be enough to just make films and be an example. That doesn’t work. It hasn’t worked,” asserted Hardwicke. “Now people are making noise, and pretty soon they won’t be able to ignore it. Why have Warner Brothers only had three female film directors in the past 10 years? I was one. But why only three? It’s ri-dic-u-lous.” She concluded, “Whatever it takes, we need to get women and minorities in that space.”
Hardwicke pointed to “Orange as the New Black” as an example of how audiences are keen to see more diversity onscreen as well. According to Hardwicke, the Netflix series proves that viewers will embrace “every kind of woman, every color of the rainbow, shape, size and age.” She explained, “You can use that as a director when you pitch. Like, ‘Look! Look at this example, look how it works.’ And the more it happens, the more it will happen.”
Hardwicke recently directed Lady Gaga’s music video for “Till It Happens To You,” an emotional tribute to sexual-abuse survivors presented by “The Hunting Ground.” In 2016, she’ll begin filming “Loulan” with her highest production budget to date. The China-set romantic epic is budgeted at $50 million.
Toni Collette and Drew Barrymore star as lifelong friends on divergent paths in Hardwicke’s next film, “Miss You Already,” which opens in theaters November 6.
[via The Guardian]